Totally Possible, Completely Delicious & Yeast-Free
Can we take a moment to talk about baking bread at home? The ultimate in homemade comfort, nothing will make you seem more like a domestic goddess than pulling out a fresh baked loaf out of your oven.
But for something so simple and with so few ingredients, it is amazing how complicated, daunting and time-consuming it can be. Even the most basic recipes require the right type of flour, yeast, time to knead, then prove, then knead then prove again and finally (finally!) into the oven and even then, sometimes your loaf bakes up too dry or too mushy and even your tears won’t bring back the hours you lost in the anticipation of a lovely wholesome loaf. I mean, I’m just assuming that’s how it is… because nothing like this has ever happened to me. Ever.
Now, what if I told you that after years of never crying over ruined loaves, I have finally cracked the homemade bread code? You may not jump for joy, but you would be intrigued wouldn’t you?
And then, what if I told you that you could have this tasty loaf mixed and baked within the hour? With NO kneading necessary. And no yeast. And using whatever flours you already have in your cupboard! Finally, what if I told you you could make it with your kids, even if your kids are three year old whirlwinds of energy and it would still only take one hour and one bowl? Well I bet you’d want to know how this magic is possible and this is your lucky day because I am about to share the ultimate bread recipe for real life.
This bread gets its rise from baking soda, buttermilk and an egg. Yes, you heard right, there is an egg in this bread. Strange as it sounds, this egg gives the loaf the kind of soft springiness that makes it perfect for sandwiches and toast. It works well with soup too. And with cheese. And hummus. In fact it tastes good with everything and it tastes good on its own.
The only danger is in slicing bit after bit (just to taste) and finding half the loaf gone. So be careful with that part – don’t say I didn’t warn you.
The Ultimate Homemade Loaf: A Bread Recipe For Real Life
(adapted from Rachel Allen’s Brown Soda Bread recipe)
1 3/4 cups (225g) whole grain flour
(Use all of the same kind or mix up whatever you have, for this batch I used 175g wholemeal spelt flour, 25g wholemeal rye flour and 25g oat flour BUT all these types of flours are NOT NECESSARY. Use 225g of normal wholemeal flour and this bread will still be awesome. I just use bits of different flours because I have a flour obsession.)
1 3/4 cups (225g) refined flour
(Same as with the wholegrain flours, use what you have, just make sure it’s not self-raising. For this loaf today I used a mix of plain flour, white spelt and white rye, only because I had these on hand. All plain flour is totally fine and works great.)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
3 tablespoons (50g) mixed seeds, such as sesame, pumpkin, or sunflower, or golden flax seeds (linseeds) (optional)
About 1 2/3 cups (375–400ml) buttermilk, kefir or soured milk
(Sour your own milk by stirring 2 Tbsp of lemon juice intto 400ml of whole milk and letting it sit for a few minutes.)
Preheat the oven to 425°F (220°C) and generously butter a 6 cup loaf pan or bread tin.
Whisk together the flours, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl and mix in the seeds (if using). Make a well in the center.
In a measuring jug, whisk the egg with the buttermilk and pour most of the liquid into the flour mixture.
Using a wooden spoon, or silicone spatula, carefully mix the dry ingredients into the liquid until they are well combined. If the dough seems dry, add a little more buttermilk. The dough should be quite soft, but not too sticky.
Spoon the dough into your prepared tin and smooth the surface. If you wish, you may make a deep cut at the top, but I never do as I like the way it rises without it.
Bake for 15 minutes in the center of your oven. Turn down the heat to 400°F (200°C) and bake for 30 minutes more.
When done, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the bottom. Remove from the baking tin and place on a wire rack to cool – although there really is nothing like fresh warm bread so feel free to completely skip the cooling part without any guilt! Enjoy.